• Louisiana Amendment 7 would ban slavery in the state’s constitution, but confusion abounds.
  • The amendment would allow involuntary servitude in the “lawful administration of criminal justice.”
  • Rep. Edmond Jordan, a Democrat in Baton Rouge, sponsored the measure but now opposes it, according to NOLA.com.

A “yes” on Louisiana Amendment 7 would prohibit slavery except in the cases of criminal punishment, although this measure that would amend the state’s constitution has caused significant confusion among voters.

Ballot measure details

Known as the Remove Involuntary Servitude as Punishment for a Crime from Constitution Measure, Louisiana Amendment 7 would eliminate the language in the state constitution that establishes involuntary servitude as punishment. It would, in turn, include language that bars slavery and involuntary servitude except in the case of  “lawful administration of criminal justice.”

Support and opposition

Louisiana Amendment 7 was first brought to the House as House Bill 298 in March and passed in May with a vote of 96-0. Nine House members were absent from the vote. The bill then moved to the Senate in June and passed 34-0. Four state senators were not present for the vote.

Rep. Edmond Jordan, a Democrat in Baton Rouge, sponsored the measure, but now opposes it as presented to voters, according to NOLA.com.

“There was just a lot of confusion” with the measure after the legislative process, Jordan told the outlet. He maintained that the wording of the ballot measure shifted from his original goal, and now may even be interpreted as authorizing slavery.

The Council for a Better Louisiana opposes the measure, according to the New Orleans outlet.

“This amendment is an example of why it is so important to get the language right when presenting constitutional amendments to voters,” the Council for a Better Louisiana told NOLA.com.

The money race

The proposal has not generated organized fundraising either for or against, according to Ballotpedia.